In partnership with SHOOK Research, Forbes looked at contributions paid out by living individuals and their foundations — excluding commitments that have yet to be paid out or donations still held as foundation assets — and determined that Buffett donated shares of Berkshire Hathaway valued at $2.86 billion in 2016, with nearly $2.2 billion going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the rest to four family charities — the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and the NoVo Foundation.
Ranked second through tenth among America's Top 50 Givers for 2016 are Gates Foundation co-founders Bill and Melinda Gates ($2.14 billion); Bloomberg Philanthropies founder Michael R. Bloomberg ($600 million); Open Society Foundations founder George Soros ($531 million); Charles "Chuck" Feeney ($482 million), co-founder of the Duty Free Shoppers Group and founder of the Atlantic Philanthropies; the Waltons, whose family foundation disbursed a total of $454 million in 2016; Paul G. Allen Family Foundation founder Paul G. Allen ($341 million); Simons Foundation co-founders Jim and Marilyn Simons ($291 million); Gordon and Betty Moore, whose foundation disbursed a total of $289 million in 2016; and Laura and John Arnold Foundation co-founders Laura and John Arnold ($277 million).
In total, the philanthropists on this year's list donated $12.2 billion in 2016, up from $11.1 billion in 2015. With a collective net worth of more than $770 billion, the individuals on the list have given more than $137 billion over their lifetimes. Thirty-eight of the top fifty are also on the 2017 Forbes 400 list, while another three are billionaires but missed the $2 billion cutoff for this year's rankings.
"One trend among America's biggest givers we are continuing to see," said SHOOK Research director Frank Berland, "is the transparency of giving to bring attention to their passions and inspire others to take action."